(Lyzz, you may insert your obligatory response in the comments section.)
...and I didn't even go to boxing today.
Boxing, you say? Yes, but... I'll explain later.
As I write this, two wheel barrows full of dirt are passing through our house to the backyard, over and over, like an anthill excavation.
You see, we're in the middle of getting 7 m^3 of dirt! And it's wonderful, clean, black dirt. Shortly after that, we'll be getting about 40m^2 of grass as soon as we can get it delivered. It was all set to be delivered this morning. It hadn't rained more than just a light mist in weeks, so it was perfect for installing grass. But then yesterday, the moment we started working on the yard to prepare it for all the new dirt and grass... rain storm from hell. I swear, somebody up there is fucking with me.
Alright, so... why are we buying dirt? Well, over the last few years here...there's been a water drainage problem in this backyard. There used to be a giant slab of concrete running under the back of the yard, so water would just run off it instead of getting absorbed. But also, one of the rain gutter tubes just dumped onto the dirt... without any sort of direction at all. You can't do that shit here. Rain don't fuck around in this part of the world!
At any rate, Jime's mom either didn't know about the problem, or hadn't gotten around to doing anything about it yet. So, we had that fixed a few weeks ago. It was a pretty major effort!
But after all that, after all those years of water washing away our top soil, the dirt we had here was WAY low. We wanted to plant grass, and other plants, but the dirt level was so low, you could see exposed water pipes (mind you, those pipes were routed very shallow, and they are small pipes, but still...we want to have those buried). So, we decided to buy a couple truckloads of good black soil before we rolled out the new lawn.
It (the dirt) started arriving this morning. It's beautiful!
And it's costing us about $140, installed!
However, before we could have the dirt installed, we had to do some major excavation. For example, we wanted to figure out where the hell all the pipes were routed back there, just so we know where to be careful in the future.
Plus, there were two areas of the yard that needed a LOT of shit dug up. One so new shit could grow, and one so some old shit WOULDN'T continue to grow.
The second one was the left-over roots from those gigantic tropical plants (in other countries, they'd be trees. Here, they're just very large plants) you may have seen in the video of our house (you know... the ones that were taller than the house). We had those removed entirely last month in preparation for fixing up the yard, but they were already starting to grow back... in force!!
It turns out their root system, as you might not be surprised to learn, was MASSIVE. Fucking gigantic. I keep saying this sort of thing, but... tropical plants don't fuck around. Something to do with the tropical rain. And the millions of years of biological warfare these bitches engaged in so they could survive in the jungle with all those other tropical plants, competing for all that water.
They want ALL the water. And they want ALL the sun.
Thus, they grow BIG, and they grow FAST.
So, I spent a good few hours hunting down those underground tree branches and digging them out with a pick and shovel. Extra points every time I found a large rhizome. The biggest rhizome was about the size of a basketball. I felt like I had hit the mother load. Jimena and I both agreed it was a good opportunity to cuss in appreciation.
Then also, we had another area where we had the opposite problem from over-growth. There's an area by the back door where it was actually DIFFICULT to grow things. Well, anything other than those giant, tropical, house-eating plants that we don't particularly care to support any longer. The gardenia that was there was having a particularly difficult time taking root. So, we too a peek and it looked like under the whole area was a lovely buried layer of old cement... with no particular reason for it to be there.
Fortunately, it turned out to be thin and easily cracked with a spade. It looked like somebody had just spilled a wheel barrow full of cement there, and then buried their mess like a cat with a turd.
Anyway, that took a lot of digging out too. But we had to be extra careful there, because that's also where all of the buried pipes met up. Basically, we had to excavate that area like goddam archeologists. So, what I'm tryin' to say is... I'm gonna need a leather hat and a whip.
All in all, we spent about 5 hours out there in the yard, sweating our hats off since 7:30 AM. I even used the pick again to till up the ground in a couple areas next to the house so we can have some lovely flower beds, completely full of this lovely new black dirt we got (and at this point in the writing, they've now finished unloading and leveling out the yard, ready for grass! Well soon as it stops with the goddam rain).
After we felt satisfied that we had sufficiently uncovered all of the buried "treasures" out there (still no Crystal Skull, but I'm sure it would have sucked anyway), we ended the day with double-shots of excedrin for each of us.
Alright... so to get back to the boxing thing. I started a boxing training program recently. It was sort of random. Essentially, the process went something like this:
I like the dojo I was going to in San Pedro, but the 30-45 minute commute each way, not to mention the up to 20 minute wait for a bus each way as well, was a real pain in the ass. It meant that I essentially lost 2 hours out of my day in ADDITION to the 1 hour work-out. That dojo is cool and all, but the commute? Fuck that noise.
I decided I'd just look into one of the local gyms that I could actually walk to. So, on the way back from getting a hair cut the other day, I popped into random gym number 1, the George Angulo Fitness Center (No idea who he is, and couldn't care less). As it happens, they had the word "boxeo" on their marquis, so I asked about that before anything. Turns out that's a completely separate fee, but that fee is still less than I was paying at the other dojo, and no bus. Jimena was with me, and they told me the instructor was upstairs, so we popped up to check out the space.
I won't exaggerate... the place is sparse. It's basically a dance floor with space for a heavy bag to hang in the middle. But the trainer seemed friendly, so I arranged for a 1-day sample class. The coach, as it turns out, is completely awesome! He's personable, he's attentive, he pushes but doesn't demand, and he KNOWS HIS SHIT. Then I looked at his shirt. It's a fancy fabric, fancy weave, expensive-looking workout shirt, and has 5 interlinked rings above the right breast. You may have seen them before... they look like this: http://images.beijing2008.cn/20070529/Img214082828.jpg
Yeah. We haven't talked about this yet to confirm, but I'm thinking MAYBE he used to be an Olympic coach (he looks like he's about 65 right now, so I'm guessing maybe he's retired, and just working this gig for his own entertainment).
The best part about the arrangement is that it's essentially personal training. Of the two times I've been so far, the first was one-on-one, and the second was just me and one other guy (also, he wore a second, different shirt the second time, but again it was an expensive but subtle shirt, with just those 5 rings over the right breast). Going forward, my sessions will probably be in parallel with a larger class he teaches, at least for a while, until I can keep up with the conditioning regimen he does for them.
The conditioning, by the way, is HEFTY. That's why I like it. That's exactly what I was looking for. That's why I wanted to do a boxing training program. It's not because I think I may need to win a bar fight some day. It's because every sport creates a certain type of body shape when you are well-conditioned for that sport. I like the look of what boxing does to the body (aside from the missing teeth and cauliflower ears, that is). MMA does virtually the same thing, but boxing will do.
Also, I can go every day, M-F, which is great for me. I actually plan to do this. I missed today because of the digging, but I'll be right back tomorrow morning.
One interesting side development with this whole thing, proves again that weird shit happens in Costa Rica. Turns out the coach has a son. That son, as it happens, is a Mechanical Engineer. Not only is he a Mechanical Engineer, he's a Mechanical Engineer who works for a gringo aerospace company (not sure which one yet), designing turbines, working primarily out of an office in San Jose, with occasional trips to the states. Wow. In a nutshell, that is EXACTLY the work scenario I want. To a fucking T.
I told the coach my degree and recent work experience, and he asked for my number to pass on to his son, when he gets back from his latest business trip to the states. If this works out right, my random little pop into a local gym could have just made my career down here.
Costa Rica works in mysterious ways. Even when I expect that, it still never fails to surprise me.